Paraguayan Marcelo Aguirre fought back from a two-game deficit to beat Turkey’s Ibrahim Gündüz to book his spot in the main draw of the men’s singles event at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships in Suzhou, China.
Aguirre, who competed at the Olympic Games in London in 2012, found himself staring at a possible early exit before he recovered to take a 9-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 win.
“At the start of the match I allowed him to play the way he liked to play; his backhand was very strong and I could not control the play,” he said.
“I was under pressure, after the fourth game I tried to relax and change the direction of the play to a greater extent.”
Elsewhere, Nigerian veteran Segun Toriola won the battle of experience over youth as he sealed his place in the main draw by overcoming Switzerland's 18-year old Lionel Weber 11-9, 11-4, 4-11, 9-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-3.
In another tough preliminary round contest that went the distance, Ukraine’s Ivan Katkov narrowly ousted Bulgaria’s Stanislav Golovanov 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 12-14, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7.
There was somewhat of a shock win for Australia’s David Powell, who beat Czech Republic’s Tomas Tregler, a player 109 places higher on the ITTF world rankings, 11-5, 11-8, 13-11, 2-11, 2-11, 5-11, 11-9.
Belarusian Alina Arlouskaya also made it to the next round with ease, thrashing Sri Lanka’s Erandi Warusawithana 11-3, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6.
India’s Shaminin Kumaresan meanwhile had a much tougher path to the main draw as she needed six games to edge past Venezuelan youngster Neridee Nino, and Olufunke Oshonaike of Nigeria was taken the distance by Algeria’s Safa Saidani eventually claiming a 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10 victory.
The men’s and women’s singles main draw competitions are due to get underway tomorrow.
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